Dr Thapa holds a MA in geography from Tribhuvan University (TU), Nepal; an MSc degree in remote sensing and GIS from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand; and a PhD degree in geoenvironmental science from the University of Tsukuba (UT), Japan.
He was a lecturer with TU from 1998 to 2002, a researcher with AIT from 2004 to 2005, JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow with UT from 2009 to 2011, and an invited researcher with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan from 2011 to 2016. He is also a UT visiting professor. Dr Thapa was the recipient of the University of Tsukuba Outstanding Research Award in 2008 and the Nepal Biddya Bhusan First Class Award for academic achievement from the President of Nepal in 2010.
Dr Thapa develops methods for mapping land-use and land cover; spatial modelling to explain and forecast the expansion of urban areas and deforestation; tracking tropical forest carbon stocks and CO2 emission risk; and spatial decision support for peri-urban agriculture. He specialises in urban monitoring, forest monitoring, forest carbon tracking, agriculture monitoring, and disaster monitoring and damage assessment.
His research focuses on monitoring and assessment of terrestrial environment including forest, agriculture, urban, and disasters, and the dissemination of Earth observation findings to policy makers, university students, and stakeholders through education, capacity building workshops, conferences, and publications.